Monday, March 7, 2011

WSU expanding to the Everett Area

Jenna Cook

            A new bill may give Washington State University permission to create a new branch campus replacing Everett Community College in 2014.
            “This will import higher education opportunities to the area,” said Rep. Mike Sells of the 38th Legislative District.
            This bill would require WSU to create a plan for establishing a branch campus in Everett, Wash., and to take over the University Center at EVCC. House Bill 1792 is currently being viewed in the Senate by the Higher Education committee for approval.
            The Senate bill 5636 is a companion bill to the house bill. It is in the House and is being overlooked by the Higher Education Committee for its first reading. The house and senate bills will need to be approved the legislature and the Governor to pass.
            Currently EVCC has eight four-year higher education programs at the University Center, if the bill passes the programs will be transferred over to WSU.  Also the estimated $89,000 in revenue from fees collected by the University Center will be collected by WSU.
            The plan created by WSU will need to address the higher education needs of Snohomish, Skagit and Island counties and include a budget and expenses required to apply the plan.
            This change is due to a greater demand of students in the area attending college and a need for engineering, science, and math baccalaureate degrees needed for jobs. The bill will “expand access” for people who want to further their education and earn their bachelor degree Sells said.
            For many students who would like to attend WSU currently that live on the west-side of the state would be given an option to attend either Everett or Pullman campus.
            “The majority of people that are here in Pullman are from the west side of the state, said Amanda Sherin junior Human Development major.  I know a lot of my friends would have loved to come to WSU but they just were not ready to come all the way to Pullman.”
            A junior transfer student Jeremy Morrell is also in favor of the bill but would rather take classes at the Pullman campus. “I would have considered staying in Everett for the reason of being closer to home for less expenses but if I would still have made the choice I did to come here because I'm away from home,” said Morrell.
            With a new campus located in Everett many students would be able to finish their degrees in another location or transfer credits.
            “I am switching to WSU online so that I can move back home and if there was an option to do an Everett campus I would jump on that,” Sherin said.
            According to the House Bill Report the people who oppose the bill believe “We need to consider the costs of this plan…and focus our energy on dealing with the current financial situation.”
            WSU President Elson Floyd is a supporter of the bill along with Sells and fellow represtentatives Hope, Dunshee, Haler, McCoy, Moscoso and Liias.

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